London Book Fair: Main Stage Programming Announcements

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New additions to the upcoming London Book Fair’s Main Stage lineup include Michael Sheen, Julie Smith, and Steven Bartlett.

At the 2023 London Book Fair at Olympia London. Image: LBF

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

See also:
At London Book Fair: The International Publishers Association
London’s Rights Seminar; Bologna’s New TV/Film Rights Center
UK: The Research and Scholarly Forum: London Book Fair, March 14
London Book Fair Names Its 2024 Charities of the Year
London Book Fair 2024: Main Stage Keynote Sessions
UK: London Book Fair Names Its 2024 ‘Authors of the Day’

Sheen, Smith, and Bartlett: Main Stage Speakers
In recent days, more programming news from organizers of London Book Fair (March 12 to 14) has interspersed more brand-name appearances into its Main Stage events, which are led by B2B programming in this industry-facing trade show.

Julie Smith, a psychologist and author, is scheduled to open the second day (March 13) of the fair’s Main Stage offerings with a 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. keynote appearance in conversation with journalist and author Kat Brown. Smith, whose work has been followed on TikTok, is expected to talk about mental health issues for authors and the creative sector.

She’s the author of Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? (Penguin Random House / Michael Joseph, 2022), a bestselling work of nonfiction and her debut publication.

Also on March 13, entrepreneur Steven Bartlett has been added to the Main Stage schedule at 10:30 to 11 a.m., and is expected to talk about his popular podcast “The Diary of a CEO.” He’s known to the British audience for his work in BBC’s show Dragon’s Den, went on to Flight Story, a marketing company, as well as thirdweb, a software platform, and has written The Diary of a CEO : The 33 Laws of Business and Life (Penguin Random House / Ebury Edge, 2023). The book is said to have sold into 34 languages and territories since its August 31 release, selling a reported 500,00o copies internationally.

On London Book Fair’s third day, March 14, the Main Stage will host actor and philanthropist Michael Sheen at 1:30 p.m., in an appearance in which he talks about the program for working-class and lower-income talents called A Writing Chance.

Shenn is to be joined onstage by the UK lead at Audible. Tracey Markham; Substack’s head of writer partnerships Farrah Storr; and novelist Sunjeev Sahota. The session is anticipated to focus on how diversity and inclusion are delivered within publishing, the wider creative industries, and what constitutes good practice in this area. Katy Shaw, a Northumbria University professor in contemporary writing and publishing, is to moderate the session.

Gareth Rapley

In a comment about the news of these three additions to the lineup, London Book Fair show director Gareth Rapley says, “Following some already huge announcements for the Main Stage, including keynotes from Jonathan Karp, CEO of Simon & Schuster, and the SheEOs in Publishing panel led by Bodour Al Qasimi featuring Judith Curr and Ameena Sayid, we are beyond excited to add three leading stars from across the book and screen community.

“I cannot wait to hear Julie Smith, Steven Bartlett and Michael Sheen share their unique and fascinating insights into extremely pressing topics, whether it’s mental health for authors, how marketers can sell more books, or how we can grow accessibility to the industry.

“That we have these fantastic Main Stage speakers at this year’s fair is a testament to the significance of LBF and how it is reflecting key topics across the full breadth of publishing and aligned creative content industries.”

Trade visitor registration information is here for the 2024 London Book Fair, again seated at Olympia London on Hammersmith.

From left, Michael Sheen, Julie Smith, and Steven Bartlett are scheduled to appear on the 2024 London Book Fair Main Stage

More Programming Notes

Here we’ll draw several more points of programming to your attention, events in which Publishing Perspectives is participating.

Jonathan Karp

At 10:30 a.m. GMT on March 12, London Book Fair’s opening Tuesday, as Rapley mentions, Publishing Perspectives will be in conversation with Jonathan Karp, CEO of the newly independent Simon & Schuster—reaching its 100th anniversary this year—as he looks at the issues, challenges, and strengths of world publishing.

In such a pivotal season for such a prominent house entering its newly reconfigured stance with its first board of directors, the company and its extensive international operations that include Simon & Schuster UK is singularly positioned for a new era.

Karp’s trademark insights, candor, and focus will inform some of the most important commentary of this year’s fair.

Dan Conway

At  2:15 p.m. GMT, on March 12, four key players will join us when Publishing Perspectives moderates a Main Stage discussion, Copyright and AI: A Global Discussion of Machines, Humans, and the Law, an advanced-level conversation exploring the risks and opportunities within the rapidly evolving ecosystem in an era of artificial intelligence.

The session will feature:

Diana Broccardo

At 3:15 p.m. GMT on March 13, London Book Fair’s Wednesday, Publishing Perspectives moderates a panel titled Voices Unheard: Addressing Inclusivity and Representation in the Publishing World, a discussion created to recognize and embrace the importance of “narratives that have long been sidelined … from shedding light on diverse perspectives and the deepening crises for boys and men in publishing’s opportunities, to celebrating the remarkable progress achieved in some quarters.

The session will feature:

  • Nelson (Nels) Abbey, co-founding author of the Black Writers Guild
  • Diana Broccardo, managing director, Swift Press
  • Natasha Carthew, writer and founding artistic director of the Working Class Writers Festival
  • Stacy Scott, Taylor & Francis

 More from Publishing Perspectives on London Book Fair is here, more from us on trade shows and book fairs in world publishing is here, more on charity work in publishing is here, and more on the United Kingdom’s book market is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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